Category Archives: Youth

Friday Afternoon Club: Clean Out Your Closets … Please

South Kitsap Helpline and the Community Transitions Program at South Kitsap High School are working together to create a “Prom Closet” for students unable to afford formal wear and accessories.

With Prom season in the wings, it seemed a good time to launch the program, said Jennifer Hardison, Helpline director. Her staff had been wanting to do something like this for a long time, but never had the time. But teacher Diane Potts, who coordinates the Transitions Program, has offered to lead the effort. Transitions helps students develop job skills, and both SKHS students and staff will be helping out with Prom Closet.

What they need from the community is gently used formal wear, shoes and accessories, both men’s and womens, all sizes.

Donations can be made between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at South Kitsap Helpline’s Vintage to Vogue store at 1351 Bay Street in Port Orchard. Specify that items are for the Prom Closet project.

For more information, call (360) 876-4089.

And here’s another charitable event you may want to note (this item is from The Kitsap Saddle Club):
“On Saturday, March 21, Crystal Petasek of Port Orchard was critically injured in a horse riding accident. She was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center where she underwent brain surgery. Her condition is currently stable, but still critical. A fund-raising spaghetti feed dinner will be held on Saturday April 4 at the Kitsap Saddle Club from 5-7 to help with the mounting medical costs. The Saddle Club is located at 1470 Saddle Club Road in Port Orchard. If people are unable to attend, but would like to donate, donations should be made out to the Petasek family and mailed to PO Box 1042 Port Orchard 98366.”
For more information: The Saddle Club’s web address is

South Kitsap Soccer Club Rising From the Ashes?

I received the following e-mail today from Mike Kerr, vice president of administration for South Kitsap Soccer Club. Mike wanted me to know that the club, serving more than 1,500 players, has reformed its ways since last year, when I did a story on the Kitsap Peninsula Youth Soccer Association’s intervention into club administration.

I was at the school board meeting Mike references, but I arrived late (with a focus on the district’s 2009/10 budget presentation) so wasn’t in on the presentation of a $10,000 donation from the club to the district to help with field maintenance. That’s not chicken scratch, especially considering the district’s budget crunch. The district for 2008/09 had to make $2.9 million in adjustments to balance its budget. With the state facing a $6 to $7 billion budget deficit, SKSD, along with all other Washington school districts, is bracing for even deeper cuts in the upcoming school year.

South Kitsap School District Superintendent Dave LaRose said he is grateful for the club’s donation and partnership. “It’s just another example of how we see our schools and facilities as having so much more influence than just bell-to-bell,” LaRose said.

On the flip side, little over a month ago, I heard from a former SKSC board member that, despite Mike’s upbeat report, there are residual and ongoing feelings of discontent with SKSC among some community members. I said at the time I would consider doing a story to update the club’s situation. My editor and I discussed the newsworthiness of the story (which is essentially about a group of adult volunteers who are having a hard time getting along) and, relative to other events and issues that needed coverage at the time, we decided to put it on the back burner. I guess I’d need to hear from people evidence to suggest this is newsworthy. Is the previous rift on the board actually harming the players the club is set up to serve? If so how? Have dynamics on the board improved? What do you think of the change from 21 to 13 board members?

If you prefer not to comment in this public forum, contact me by e-mail at or call (360) 792-9219. If you do post a comment, remember to avoid libelous or defamatory statements. Thanks, Chris

Here’s Mike Kerr:


While this time last year we, the South Kitsap Soccer Club, were taking a political beating from infighting and resignations to the point of having State intervention I thought that news of how the club is doing might be interesting.

This year we reduced the size of our executive board down to 13 members from the unmanageable 21 member size it had been. During the elections this year we also worked hard to identify other relationships that had been disregarded during the restructure including relationships with both Kitsap County Parks and especially the South Kitsap School District. The SKSC Board voted to have our organization as a public supporter of the upcoming Levy vote for SKSD and last night I appeared before the SKSD board meeting and donated a $10,000 check on behalf of the SKSC to the district to help keep the school grounds fields used for soccer in top shape. This was the result of my having met with the Facilities department head Tom O’Brien and discussing a renewed partnership between our two organizations for the betterment of the kids.

I don’t know if this is considered newsworthy, but it most certainly would shed light upon the positive direction our club has taken out of the ashes of last year’s political debacle. You sources on the SKSD board can confirm my claims.

Best regards,

Mike Kerr
SKSC VP of Admin

Etta Projects Connect South Kitsap to Bolivia

Tomorrow, a group from South Kitsap will take off for Montero, Bolivia, on a humanitarian aid trip that keeps alive the memory of Etta Turner, a South Kitsap teen who died while she was an exchange student in Bolivia. The trip will, among other assistance, provide dental care to children and adults who have never sat in a dental chair in their lives. The story will run tomorrow in the Kitsap Sun.

Etta Projects is a nonprofit organization established in memory of Etta Turner, who died in 2005 at age 16 while traveling with friends on a bus. The driver fell asleep, and the bus went off a cliff. Etta and six Bolivians were killed.

Etta Turner

In 2003, Etta’s mother, Pennye Nixon-West, helped establish a feeding center for impoverished children in La Floresta, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Montero. Comedor de Ninos Etta Turner operates with help from Etta’s family and friends, Rotary clubs in North and South America, and the Salesian Catholic Church in Montero whose priest was also Etta’s principal. Etta II opened in 2005 in Pampa de la Madre, a rural section of Montero. Together the two centers feed 240 children daily and train their mothers in skills that lead to gainful employment.

Among the aid provided by Kitsap residents traveling to Bolivia, some group members – including features editor Barb Willock – will teach mothers of the children arts and crafts. Barb, who is a weaver when she’s not putting together the features section, will teach knitting.

Handicrafts are more than just a hobby for the women of Montero; they’re a source of livelihood. In an economy where a few dollars a day can mean the difference between chronic hunger and adequate nutrition, learning to knit can help a mother feed a family.

The group is undeterred by a travel advisory issued for Bolvia in September by the U.S. State Department. Protests against the central government have led to clashes between authorities and protesters. Nixon-West, who has a house in Bolivia, has updated the group on developments, recently deeming it safe for travel.

Safe trip to you all. Feel free to send e-mail updates to me at

For more information visit Etta Projects Web site.

Benevolent Fund Established for Goheen Family

Last week we ran a story on Tessie Goheen, whose family we’ve been following for the past four years. Tessie and her sisters, Becky and Katie, have a genetic condition, passed down from their late father Paul Goheen, that predisposes them to cancer. Becky and Katie have both survived cancer. Tessie, who was recently diagnosed, is in treatment. Tessie, always a gung-ho gal, is working to establish a cancer support center in Kitsap County in between chemotherapy treatments. The courage and resilience of the Goheen girls and their mother Beth has been sorely tried by their ordeal. The family is facing staggering medical and transportation costs.

It didn’t take long for friends of the family to step forward and establish a fund the help the family. To make a tax-deductible donation, visit any WAMU (Washington Mutual) branch and mention the Children of Paul Goheen fund, acct. number 3580779210.

To learn more about Tessie Goheen’s proposed cancer support center, visit or e-mail her at Donations may be made at any Washington Mutual branch, account 3580989968.

More on Skateboarders, Not All Good News

Store owners don’t like them setting up on sidewalks and stairways around malls andIn my experience as a reporter, there is a strange phenomenon in the news industry that I call “story clustering.” That’s when I write on one topic and related stories come up around the same time. Maybe there’s nothing cosmic to it. Maybe I’m just more tuned in.

Last week I wrote about a group who want to see a skateboard park build at South Kitsap Community Park. So when I saw a Code 911 item on the Web site from Sunday, “Skateboarder Hit Intentionally by SUV?” it caught my eye.

A 16-year-old skateboarder was knocked unconscious Friday afternoon as he was riding eastbound (and downhill) on Mile Hill Drive. According to the boy and his 17-year-old friend, the SUV didn’t stop, and the 16-year-old said it seemed like the driver swerved toward him on purpose.

Comments on the item range from those who sympathized with the skateboarder, calling out the driver, to those who criticized skateboarders in general saying they’ve been flipped off by surly youth riding in all the wrong places.

Skaters as a group have an image problem. shopping centers. Public areas with ramps, rails and steps are attractive to skaters, but not built for that purpose. Will the construction of a 25,000 S/F state-of-the-art skate facility in SK keep kids off the streets? Probably not. But in the process of getting it built, members of South Kitsap Skate Park Association, the nonprofit that’s pushing for the park, have the opportunity to be ambassadors for the best that skateboarding can be: highly athletic, highly entertaining, a healthy (if somewhat risky) diversion for youth (mostly guys) who might otherwise be letting boredom get them best of them.

My question, as a Mom, “Were those kids on Mile Hill wearing helmets?”

Iditarod Update: SK Student Walks on the Wild Side

Here’s the final dispatch from Natalie Kathan, the South Kitsap student who is reporting on the Iditarod from Anchorage, Alaska. Find out all about Natalie at this previous blog post.

March 3
This is our last day in Alaska. The day was fully packed with awesome places and crazy wildlife. I started the day with a walk down the Coastal Trail that led me to a haunted house, moose tracks, and a statue of the famous Captain Cook. Captain Cook was the first British explorer to land in this area.

Moose Print.jpg
Moose Print (Photo courtesy of Kathan family)

Next we drove to the Alyeska Ski Resort which is south of Anchorage on the Turnagain Arm and took their tram to the 2,300 ft. level of Mt. Alyeska that gave us a bird’s eye view of the surrounding mountain ranges. The ride was incredible!

The 2nd stop was at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. I saw plain bison, wood bison, moose, brown bears, muskoxen, caribou, two great horned owls, Sitka black tailed deer, a porcupine, and a herd of elk. Did you know that both male and female caribou have antlers? Then in the fog and snow, I tried to spot Portage Glacier but it was impossible in the weather.

This evening I tracked my musher and as of tonight she is in 62nd place.
Musher Cindy Gallea off to Nome (Photo courtesy of Kathan family)

This is our last day in Anchorage and I’m sad to leave.

Natalie’s Daily Trivia: In the early 1900’s there were only 300 wood bison left in the world and all were in captivity. Thanks to the work of conservation groups they have grown to 3,000. There are still none living in the wild.

Click here for the wildlife center’s Web site.

Iditarod Update: SK Student on the Iditarod Trail

Click here, for a complete wrap-up of the Kitsap Sun’s Iditarod coverage.

Natalie Kathan, 11, a student at South Colby Elementary School in South Kitsap has been reporting to her classmates from Anchorage, Alaska, where Natalie is part of the crowd taking in the legendary Iditarod dog sled race. The trip was made possible by Natalie’s sister, Celena Kathan, who bid on and won the chance for Natalie to ride in the ceremonial start of the race.

Here’s a video taken by Natalie on the trail Saturday, during the ceremonial race. It gives a musher’s-eye-view of the scenery. Check out the dog on the right that keeps taking bites of snow on the run.

Here’s Natalie, reporting from the start of the actual race Sunday. (Photo by Celena Kathan.)

Natalie writes:
My day was amazing! The Official Start of the Iditarod was today and all the mushers were getting their teams and sleds packed and the dogs prepped for their long trail trip. The mood was a lot more serious and the mushers were “in the zone.” They had 2 minute intervals between each dog team setting out to Nome and Cindy Gallea was the 82nd musher.

I enjoyed riding with Cindy so much that I wanted to wish her luck and see her off on the trail. I waited for a of couple hours and watched Cindy get her dogs and sled ready, observing everything that we could about what she put in her sled. I saw her put in very interesting things that were all very little. She put in chapstick, a little toothbrush and toothpaste, eye drops, inhaler, and a little bottle of champagne to celebrate!

Cindy Starts!.jpg
Natalie rode with veteran musher Cindy Gallea. Here Gallea is ready to start the actual race on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of the Kathan family.)

When the number finally got to 80, we ran to the start line chute and waited for Cindy. I wished her good luck and thanked her from the crowd and then I took as many pictures as I could. Suddenly, after the horn, she was off on the trail heading for Nome for her 8th time.

She told me her goals for this Iditarod were to get in the top 30 and improve her time to 10 days. I hope she will reach them or even do better!

Once the restart of the race was over, we drove back home with a pit stop of ice cream. On my daily exploration I walked to the Ice Sculpture Park to get a few photos and saw a climbable ice castle with 2 ice slides. I slid down the slide twice and found it was surprisingly fast.


Natalie’s Daily Trivia: The fastest Iditarod finishing time was 8 days, 22 hrs, 26 min, and 2 sec. The slowest Iditarod finishing time was 32 days, 5 hrs, 9 min, and 1 sec.

Do Kitsap Students Get Enough Recess?

This weekend, the Kitsap Sun will run a story on a bill to make recess a mandatory part of elementary students’ school days that is making its way through the state Legislature.

South Kitsap School District Superintendent Bev Cheney said educators in her district value free play time, but they don’t need a law to make it happen.

A related bill, SB 5265, would create an outdoor education and recreation grant program aimed at underserved children.

Sen. Rosa Franklin, D-Tacoma, the mandatory recess bill’s sponsor, said children in her district have been shortchanged on time for unstructured play because of pressure on schools to meet state academic learning standards.

In South Kitsap, elementary students get two 15-minute recess periods, plus a portion of their 30-minute lunch period to blow off steam, said Cheney.

Because of the state’s requirements for instructional time, South Kitsap schools have the option to rearrange or combine those time periods, and in some cases, students may have two longer recesses as opposed to three shorter play times, Cheney said.

Cheney said this is simply a matter of “practice” and not a hard and fast policy. It just seems like the right thing to do.

“From our standpoint, we’re looking at the whole child,” said Cheney. “We believe the kids need to have some time to play. They need to have that opportunity to get up, run around and be physical.”

The Washington State Board of Health has endorsed the bill saying fresh air and physical activity helps combat obesity, teaches children how to cooperate with one another and helps them focus better once they’re back in the classroom.

Kim Howard of the Washington State PTA said that for two years in a row, recess has ranked high on members’ list of concerns at the organization’s legislative assembly, coming in fifth in 2006 and eighth in 2007.

“Parents are concerned the schedule is so tight,” said Howard. “I think the districts are trying to shave time to make sure students are getting all the learning time they’re supposed to.”

But so far, said Howard, the evidence that this is happening is mostly anecdotal. She said her organization needs to gather more hard data on recess time in districts around the state in order to promote the bill, which was first introduced during the 2007 session.

What’s happening in Kitsap? If you’re a parent, does it seem like your children are getting less recess time than they used to, or than you used to when you were a child?

Rift on SK Soccer Board Leads to Change in Leadership

Note Dec. 29, 9:21 a.m.: My apologies for the delay in posting your comments on this story. Here is the link to the story.

If you are a parent of one of the 1,500 kids in South Kitsap Soccer Club, you have already received an e-mail informing you that the Kitsap Peninsula Youth Soccer Association has assumed temporary leadership of the club. Disagreement among board members has interfered with the club’s ability to conduct business, said George Campbell, KPYSA president.

The complete story will be posted on a little later. I’ve pasted the first few graphs below. Note that the club will hold a general meeting Jan. 10 to elect new leadership.

Here’s the story in a nutshell (obviously not the whole story as the purpose here is primarily to publicize the meeting; feel free to contact me if you have pertinent information for follow-up articles.) :

A shake-up in leadership on the South Kitsap Socer Club Board of Directors has led the club’s parent organization, Kitsap Peninsula Youth Soccer Association, to assume temporary authority over general elections and other business.
The club will hold its general assembly meeting at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 10 at Givens Center in Port Orchard. Parents of children on SKSC teams are encouraged to attend. Board members for the 2008-09 season will be elected at the meeting.
KPYSA president George Campbell of Silverdale announced in mid-December that he was taking over as acting president of the club until a new president could be elected.
Former president Bill Hammer of Port Orchard resigned shortly before Campbell’s e-mail was sent to club members.
One thing on which both men agree is that conflict among board members contributed to the situation.
“South Kitsap has had some fighting going on, disagreements and everything else,” said Campbell. “It’s been going on for a while, but it came to light a few months ago. They’ve been unable to get club business done. We were asked to look into things, and we did. We thought it got settled, but it got ugly.”

I’m Dreaming of a Virtual Christmas

Check this out: Facebook has a new thing called Rockin Christmas Tree. Download the application — developed by Carl Chuang of East Bay, Calif. — absolutely free and decorate a Christmas tree for your Facebook page. Then choose gifts for your friends — real gifts in iconic form, such as iPods, jewlery, clothing, sports gear — choose from a host of wrappings, write personalized greetings. Then send them off with a click of your mouse, no shipping charges even.

The little iconic gifts appear under your friends’ virtual Christmas trees. No peeking until Christmas if you check the appropriate box.

No real gifts either, but what they hey, that’s my kind of Christmas! This takes, “It’s the thought that counts.” to a whole new level.

I’ve long thought I’d enjoy the holidays better if I didn’t actually have to do the shopping, part with the money for stuff that has a 50/50 chance of being returned or contributing to the clutter in everyone’s closets. No, this is more my style, “I imagine that I’m giving you an iPod. Hope you like it.” Virtual generosity could be easy and fun.

So I decided to give it a whirl. But first I needed my own Facebook account.
I know, it’s pathetic on so many levels.

First, since I’m definitely not in the target demographic, this is the cyber equivalent of walking into an Internet cafe and yelling, “Far out, man, let’s virtually rap!” Members of my family who are in the target demographic are horrified and are doing the cyber equivalent of pretending they don’t know me.

Second, I got everything to work except the year I was born. I have NO idea why it insists on being 1992 instead of 1955. Full disclosure to all the young people on Facebook: I am an old phart. I am not stalking you; I’m just a little Internet clueless. Anyone out there in the target demographic care to give me a hand?

Third, I haven’t figured out all the features of Facebook yet, so my page looks a little bare … except for the tree! Isn’t it cool? There were a lot of choices — candy cane trees, traditional trees, stained glass trees, but it didn’t take me long to gravitate to the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. And no needles on the floor to sweep up.

Then I had to choose a video. Vince Guaraldi’s “Christmas Time is Here,” from the Charlie Brown Christmas movie, was way too obvious. But what to choose? Celin Dion singing “Oh, Holy Night?” I think not. Enya’s “Silent Night” … in Irish? Too woo, woo. “Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer,” by some country singer? Tacky. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Hannah Montana. I’m not even going to pretend to understand the appeal of that.

I finally settled on Twisted Sister’s version of “Oh, Come All Ye Faithful,” which seemed fitting .. twisted yet traditional. And it’s actually a pretty faithful rendition of the song, except for the screaming guitar licks.

Now to go virtually shopping. Click on any one of the many categories of gifts — electronics, pet supplies, toys — and there’s something for everyone … just like in a real mall only without those annoying people trying to rub sea salt on your hands.

I found pet elf hats, Crocs clogs and Wii nunchuck controllers not to mention every iPod accessory you can imagine — iPod holders for your car, your bedroom even your shoes.

Did I mention that iPod was the default category? Or that you can “learn more” about products with a simple click and, viola, there you are on, where non-virtual credit cards are accepted.

Before long it dawned on me that this virtual shopping spree was designed to generate a very real desire for all that stuff. In her book, “Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture,” author Juliet Schor outlines the culture-wide indoctrination American children undergo from infancy on into the tantalizing world of material goods. In related reading, Dell Dechant, author of “The Sacred Santa,” puts a new twist on the old argument that materialism is edging out religion at Christmas. He says that in fact consumerism related to holidays is its own sacred ritual.

Oh look, there’s a present under my tree. Why, it’s from Carl Chuang. I believe that’s the Facebook equivalent of having Tom as your only MySpace friend … pathetic on so many levels.

Thanks, Carl, and a virtual merry Christmas to you, too!

Chris Henry, SK reporter